by: Scott Wickersham Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte leaders welcomed the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association to Charlotte Wednesday.
The conference has had financial struggles and admits it’s looking for more financial help for future tournaments from the host city.
As far as money goes, some city leaders say they don't have much more to offer and Charlotte leaders made it clear.
“We are so grateful to welcome you back again,” said Tom Murray with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.
They also gave hints there's no place else for the tournament to be.
“This means a lot to us,” said Michael Smith with Center City Partners. “We're a big city with big city amenities. It is the kind of amenity package that would be really hard to replicate in another city.”
That may happen.
Charlotte provides sponsorships, scholarships money and a million dollars in business development funding.
But the league and its schools have been struggling financially.
Johnson C. Smith University recently had to cut its budget by $3 million because of declining enrollment.
If another city offers a better deal, Commissioner Jacqie Carpenter said they may take it.
“My goal is to reduce as many of our expenses as possible,” Carpenter said.
The tournament brings an estimated $47 million dollars in spending to Charlotte.
That money goes to restaurants and hotels and not to the city's general fund, according to a Channel 9 source.
And it may be hard to drum up more direct financial support.
One way Charlotte could help is getting more people in the stands.
The CIAA said ticket sales are on par with last year which was down 13 percent from the year before.
Now city leaders must decide what is most important to them and what they're willing to give.
The CIAA still has to send out a request for proposals from various interested cities.
They will give them about two months to respond with their best offer for the 2015 tournament.
For information on the CIAA Tournament visit: http://www.gocarolinas.com/news/entertainment/ciaa-charlotte/ndSYm/
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